The role of the Local Authority Designated Officer

In light of the recent Lucy Letby verdict, the Local Authority Designated Officers (LADO) have written an article recapping their role within Somerset:

The LADO role was introduced within ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children’ guidance in 2006. The emphasis of the LADO service is very much immersed in dealing with people who work with children and young people in either a paid or voluntary capacity, who may present as a risk to children and young people outside of the family home. 

Concerns may arise in a wide range of circumstances and can relate to an individual’s behaviour in work, behaviour outside work or at home which may present a transferable risk to their work with Children and Young People.

The Key Principles for LADOs:  

  • The welfare of the child is paramount
  • Individuals about whom there are concerns should be treated fairly and honestly and should be provided with support
  • It is everyone’s responsibility to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people.

Who should you inform about a concern and what are your responsibilities as an employee?

In the first instance there should be organisational policies and procedures in place to safeguard children, including a Whistleblowing policy. All organisations must have a Whistleblowing policy, which is a document that explains how employees can report any wrongdoing or malpractice that affects others in their workplace, including inappropriate behaviour that may harm a Child or Young Person.

A Whistleblowing policy also acts to protect employees/ volunteers from any unfair treatment or retaliation for raising their concerns. It is important that you are familiar with your own organisation’s Whistleblowing policy and understand your responsibilities within it.

You should always report any concerns to safeguarding leads within your organisation who will then make a decision whether a LADO notification is required.

However, if you feel that your organisation is not taking your concerns seriously, you can take your concerns directly to an external agency, such as the Police, Children’s Social Care, or the LADO service.

Please visit the Allegations Management web page for further details on the LADO criteria and how to make a notification to the LADO service in Somerset:

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